When Susan Cain did a TED talk on the power of the introvert a few years ago, it went viral. it was the first time that someone actually said that the person who is usually reserved and low on social interactions, actually has valuable skills to bring to society. In a culture where extroverts are usually praised, it was a breath of fresh air. Introverts everywhere all rejoiced and felt validated, and frankly felt like they could breathe and not make so much effort into becoming something they weren’t something which was so draining. This Ted talk said to the world, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH INTROVERTS! It got me to think, what other facets of ourselves have we been convinced were things that were broken and needed to be fixed? How do we figure out what needs to change about us, and what is simply a quirk or an aspect of our personality that needs to be left alone?
If you are someone who is hyper-critical of yourself and constantly trying to fix yourself, you can easily fall into this trap of thinking that everything about you needs to be changed. Whenever someone makes a comment about you, you take a mental note as yet another thing wrong with you. But the thing is, there are things that simply personality traits that someone just happens not to like, rather than a character flaw. What’s the difference?
Think of a peach. It’s the sweetest juiciest peach that ever existed, beautiful and probably delicious. Someone comes along and says, I hate peaches! Being a peach, is just a personality trait, that someone happens to not like. That’s your introversion, your child-like wonder of the world, your love video games, your preference of documentaries over movies…etc. Someone will hate that about you, but you needn’t change it.
Back to our peach. If the peach is going bad, becoming rotten, maybe has fruit worms in it. Nobody wants to eat that. It’s a character flaw. That’s your being judgemental, self-centered, short-tempered, inconsiderate. That, you need to change.
Understanding these differences allows you to a little easier on yourself, to not feel like you have to be everyone’s cup of tea (Or peach), and know what is constructive criticism, bullying, or just a difference of opinion. Not everything about you needs fixing, and having the wisdom to know what does, is where lies your serenity,
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.